Catholic Church-inspired organisations discuss lack of involvement among men in the prevention of mother-to-child HIV transmission By Msgr. Robert J. Vitillo, Caritas Internationalis Special Advisor on HIV/AIDS and Francesca Matera, Geneva delegation volunteer In many countries, pregnant women must seek permission from their husbands before accessing a simple HIV test that could be the determining factor for future health, illness or even death, both for themselves and their babies. Some women do not return for their test results because they fear the negative, or even violent, reactions of their husbands should the test be positive for HIV. And some HIV-positive women refuse to avail themselves of prevention of mother to child transmission (PMTCT) programmes, again out of fear of male reactions and rejection from the extended family.
It is 7:30pm, in Amatlan, in the province of Cordoba Veracruz. The train whistle blows in the distance. In Norma Romero Vazquez' kitchen, headquarters of the "Patronas ", women bustle about.. Carmen, 90, the oldest of the women in the family, takes a crate filled with bags of food. Along with her daughters and granddaughters, Carmen goes to the railway that passes about ten meters away from her house. Over a distance of a kilometer, the fifteen women share the crates out between themselves. When the light of the train appears, they get as close as possible to the tracks and stretch out their arms laden with food bags. "God bless you", cry the migrants aboard the goods train. In a few minutes, the train has gone. Back to Norma's kitchen. For over 15 years, Carmen, Norma and the others have been handing out food, clothing and medicines to the migrants on [...]
By Helen Blakesley and Caritas Internationalis staff American Caritas member Catholic Relief Services, Caritas Niger (SECADEV) and its partners are mobilising emergency water, hygiene and sanitation facilities to meet the urgent needs of thousands of Malian refugees in neighbouring Niger. Fighting in northern Mali between the army and a rebel group has forced more than 100,000 people to flee their homes. Nearly half have stayed in Mali, and the others have crossed borders seeking refuge in neighbouring countries. According to the United Nations, around 25,000 people have crossed into Niger since the end of January—two-thirds of them Malian refugees and a third, Nigeriens. An estimated 500 people are arriving every day. Most of the refugees are living in open-air shelters made of blankets stretched over sticks. They face extreme temperatures—the heat of the day and then cold at night—in the Sahelien desert zone. Many came on foot, leaving behind most […]